Summary: Confronting the question... who is Jesus to you?
Intro: (Daylight Savings Time) Last night we changed our clocks…because of particular practical needs…time is changed. On a grand scale God has done the same…Based on a need in the human condition…God is said to have entered the world not simply to change temporal time, but eternity…and this in the figure known as Jesus…Jesus the Christ.
It fascinates me that this figure…Jesus…never pursued widespread prominence in any common practical manner. Didn’t write a memoir or best seller; didn’t head for the big cities; didn’t seek to reach the social and political leaders of the day…rather he proclaimed and demonstrated the Kingdom of God and said “wait and see”…and that’s precisely what happened…all human history is dated around his life…2,000 years later lives are equally challenged and changed.
Recently a man was sharing a scene not so hard to imagine…airport…several planes unloaded…his terminal corridor became a solid flow of people heading towards the main terminal…one of those golf cart like carts began heading towards them…with an amber light flashing…and intermittent beeps it was forcing the mass of humanity to one side or the other…everybody had to make a choice.
A fitting image of how God’s Word describes Christ’s coming into our fallen world…a world worthy of judgment will be judged, not by how we meet God’s standards, but how we respond to the one who extends his grace and pays the price for our debt…how we respond to Jesus. A judgment in which there are those who chose, those who refuse; no middle camp, no middle ground.
What is it about Jesus that demands such reaction?
It’s not a question of his existence…His life is profoundly rooted in history.
Go to Encyclopedia. Learn of his life and times. Encyclopedia Britannica uses 20,000 word’s describing the person of Jesus; more space than Aristotle, Julius Caesar, Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, or Napoleon.
Go and visit his birthplace…where he was baptized, taught and was crucified.
Nor is it his basic ideology and values that are so confronting and controversial.
· Nearly everyone appreciates …and we even are astounded at what he taught regarding concerns for truth, justice and the poor. His contributions to human history are unparallel and unquestioned; transforming barbaric cultures; establishing a basis of dignity and equality for all people, including women, children, the sick and socially outcast. It’s neither his mere existence nor example that force a choice.
What truly confronts us…and demands a choice is this, HIS CLAIM TO BE FROM GOD…TO BE GOD’S ONLY SON…GOD INCARNATE - to be God entering creation like a painter painting themselves into their own painting, or a writer appearing in their own movie…as Alfred Hitchcock frequently did. (Heb. 1:1-3) He’s offering salvation from our separation from God, …forgiving our sins by offering His own life, calling us to REPENT…to RECEIVE HIM…To FOLLOW HIM. It’s those “I AM” statements he made that remove all room for neutrality or mild approval.
· “Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;” John 11:25
· When Peter said, You are the Christ, the son of the Living God, Jesus said, You got it right Peter…I am…and that’s what God will build his eternal Kingdom on.
· When on trial, the high priest along with Pilate asked, Are You the Christ?
He answered “I am” (MK. 14:62)
When the priest heard his claim he tore his robe from top to bottom. He chose his response…and many have refused Him as well; but millions of others have received him, found his forgiveness and love; worship him unashamedly, follow him courageously…no matter the cost.
This morning I pose the ultimate question to us;
· What is your response to Christ? Who is Jesus to you?
· The question is not about cultural or family background, or do you attend church. THE QUESTION IS WHO IS HE TO YOU?
I want to take a few minutes to consider with you the basis of this question; to ask you to reason with me in your heart as well as your mind for honest reasoning must search the heart as well as satisfy the mind. I want to begin by EVALUATING THE ATTEMPTS FOR ANOTHER OPTION…that is, any other option than reckoning with Jesus for who he claimed to be; and consider if any such options have a greater basis of reason.
1. A MYTH…that is, that he never really made such claims…that his disciples and those who knew him made it all up…and therefore we must go back and decide who he really was.
This is really a modern idea, generally reflecting modern circles of disbelieving scholars in search of an “historical” Jesus; by historical they want to come up with an alternative to the historical records. This ultimately involves removing portions of the Gospel records based on the presupposition that such records reflect the wishful thinking of those who actually knew him or of him.